British Columbia

B.C. to introduce new real estate rules in 2018

The B.C. government has announced new rules it says will cut down on shady real estate deals in the province, such as shadow flipping and dual agency.

New rules ban dual agency, require more disclosure about compensation

B.C.'s Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate has announced new rules banning dual agency and requiring more detailed disclosure about compensation. (David Horemans/CBC)

The B.C. government has announced new rules it says will cut down on shady real estate deals in the province.

Superintendent of Real Estate Michael Noseworthy says the changes are set to take effect March 15.

They include better informing buyers about how much compensation realtors are entitled to, as well as restricting "dual agency," where when one agent acts on behalf of both buyer and seller on the same deal.

The changes stem from recommendations made last year by an independent advisory panel created by the former B.C. Liberal government.

The changes are the result of effort to curb practices like "shadow flipping," which first came to light in 2016.

Shadow flipping is the practice of selling a property several times by reassigning the sales contracts before their closing date. The price of the home goes up each time. 

Changes limited in scope, agent says

Keith Roy, a real estate agent with REMAX Select, says the rules will likely increase consumer protection by raising awareness of the issues, but questioned whether they will actually be better protected from a legal standpoint.

"All we're doing in this case is limiting consumer choice of which professional they hire," Roy said.

"It's important because it's highlighting the issue, but it's not solving the problem that the government's saying it is."

Roy also said the new rules won't affect anyone's ability to flip houses on a speculative basis.

"These rules do nothing to change the impact of international money in the market [and they do] nothing to change the impact of people flipping houses [or] consumer protections around pricing," he said.

"All this does is limit the ability of a realtor to represent two people inside of the same transaction."

With files from Natasha Frakes and the Canadian Press.